Zone Read: Eagles-Vikings, the Day After

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Minnesota Vikings

Going into Sunday’s game against the Vikings, the Eagles appeared to be peaking at the right time.

They had won five straight, were in the driver’s seat in the NFC East and looked like a team capable of making some noise in the postseason.

Less than 24 hours after kickoff, the outlook has changed a bit. The 48-30 loss to the Vikings was either just one bad letdown game or a true reality check of where this team is.

Keeping that in mind, let’s take a point-by-point look at some of the issues that surfaced in Minnesota, debuting The Kapadia Concern Scale. Each issue is given a ranking from 1 to 10. Read more »

Game Review: Eagles Offense Vs. Lions

Dec 8, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles (9) hands off to running back LeSean McCoy (25) during the second quarter against the Detroit Lions at Lincoln Financial Field. Photo | Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 8, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles (9) hands off to running back LeSean McCoy (25) during the second quarter against the Detroit Lions at Lincoln Financial Field. Photo | Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Here’s a position-by-position look at what we saw from the Eagles’ offense against the Lions, after having re-watched the game.

QUARTERBACKS

* There was good Nick Foles, and there was bad Nick Foles. Obviously, the weather conditions were a factor. Foles started the game 4-for-13 for 35 yards. When he missed, he generally sailed his throws. That’s what happened on the first-half interception. Foles was also off-target on a hitch to Riley Cooper, and he fired a quick throw to Cooper into the ground. Last week, on the same throw, Foles fired the pass over Cooper’s head. Both attempts came with him under center. I think that has something to do with it. That’s an easier throw when you’re in shotgun and can just take the snap and fire. Read more »

Eagles-Lions Injury Report

Here is the Eagles’ injury report for Sunday’s home game against Detroit:

Out: LB Najee Goode (hamstring), S Earl Wolff (knee)

Probable: TE Zach Ertz (shoulder), DT Bennie Logan (neck), WR Jeff Maehl (concussion), DE Damion Square (back).

Ertz, Logan and Square were each listed as full participants at practice for the entire week. Maehl returned from his concussion on Thursday.

Clifton Geathers did not practice from Wednesday-Friday this week because of personal reasons. Read more »

The Matchup: Eagles Vs. Lions

NFL: Washington Redskins at Philadelphia EaglesChip Kelly might not admit it, but he has favorites.

Players whose names he will bring up unprompted. Guys he’ll go out of his way to mention as underrated or under-appreciated. And atop that list this year has been tight end Brent Celek.

On the surface, Celek’s numbers are unimpressive: 23 receptions for 319 yards. He’s on pace for his lowest per-game averages since 2008 in both categories. But there are plenty of reasons why Kelly has sung Celek’s praises all year long.

“I think Chip respects guys that give everything they’ve got on every single play when you’re out there,” Celek said. “I respect everything that he’s done. Everything that he does makes sense, and you as a football player, that’s what you want. You want answers to some of your questions, and he answers those. And everything he wants you to do, it all makes sense.”

The strong relationship between Celek and Kelly was no given during the offseason. The seventh-year tight end was an Andy Reid loyalist. Even as things fell apart last season, Celek stood at his locker after every game and defended his head coach.

Meanwhile, after Kelly was hired, he made moves to bolster Celek’s position, signing James Casey in free agency and drafting Zach Ertz in the second round. Those moves could have rubbed Celek the wrong way and put his standing with the team in question, but Kelly made sure that was a non-issue. Read more »

Offense Game Review: 10 Observations

NFL: Arizona Cardinals at Philadelphia EaglesHere are 10 observations after having re-watched the Eagles’ performance on offense against the Arizona Cardinals:

1. Let’s start with Nick Foles and the positives. He continues to look comfortable in the offense, even though there were some bumps in the road this week. Final numbers: 21-for-34 for 237 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. Foles now has 19 TDs and no picks on the season. On the first drive, he did a great job of seeing where the blitz was coming from and finding Brent Celek for a 16-yard gain on third down. On the first touchdown, he made an excellent throw to Zach Ertz in the corner of the end zone after faking the toss to LeSean McCoy. Later, he connected with Ertz on a 22-yarder. Watching live, I thought his pass was high, but the replay showed Foles put the ball where only Ertz could get it as the linebacker tried to step in front. Foles is a master of setting up the screen and waiting until the right moment to deliver the football. He connected with McCoy for a 19-yard pickup on a screen in the second. One of his best throws of the game was to DeSean Jackson for a 25-yard gain on a wheel route down the right sideline. In the third, Foles delivered a strike to Cooper for 16 yards, and his throw to Ertz on the post in the end zone was on the money. Read more »

Kelly’s TE Focus Pays Dividends

It didn’t take long to figure out Chip Kelly‘s offensive strategy against Arizona. Have a look at the play-by-play from the Eagles’ opening drive:

1st and 10 at AZ 25 N.Foles pass short left to B.Celek pushed ob at ARZ 22 for 3 yards.
2nd and 7 at AZ 22  N.Foles pass incomplete short left to B.Celek.
3rd and 7 at AZ 22 N.Foles pass short middle to B.Celek to ARZ 6 for 16 yards
1st and 6 at AZ 6 N.Foles pass short right to Z.Ertz for 6 yards, TOUCHDOWN.

See a pattern there?
Read more »

Zone Read: Eagles-Cardinals, the Day After

NFL: Arizona Cardinals at Philadelphia EaglesChip Kelly stood at the podium late Sunday afternoon and prepared to answer questions about his team’s performance against the Arizona Cardinals.

“It looked like the offense had a lot of trouble after that touchdown drive to start the second half-” a reporter started before Kelly interrupted.

“Can we go positive with the first question on a win?” he joked.

About 10 minutes later, the Eagles’ locker room opened up to reporters, and while it was clear that players were happy to have gotten a win, they knew there were plenty of mistakes that needed to be corrected.

After putting together an impressive 13-play, 82-yard drive to start the third quarter, the offense stalled in a big way. The Eagles totaled 22 yards (not counting penalties or kneel-downs) on six drives. They managed just five first downs during that stretch and did not move more than 16 yards on any single possession.

“We try to stay out of this situation,” said LeSean McCoy. “We just have to do a better job of closing out the game. We have gone through this a couple of times and we just have to do a better job.” Read more »

Offense Game Review: 10 Observations

NFL: Washington Redskins at Philadelphia EaglesHere are 10 observations on the Eagles’ offense after having re-watched the game.

1. The one word I would use to describe Nick Foles is comfortable. He was calm in the pocket, delivered the football on-target and did a great job on the little things like setting up screens. Foles threw a beautiful ball to DeSean Jackson in between Redskins defenders for 19 yards in the first. He connected with Zach Ertz for a 15-yard pickup and lofted one to LeSean McCoy for 49 yards down the sideline. In the second, Foles motioned Bryce Brown to the right, pump-faked to him and then came back to Brent Celek for a 42-yard gain on a screen. In the third, he delivered a nice ball to Ertz, but the rookie dropped it. That was no issue for Foles, who came right back to him on the very next play for a 16-yard gain. Overall, 17-for-26 for 298 yards. He easily could have had three touchdowns, but receivers were brought down inside the 5. Foles’ play was not the issue in the second half. He wasn’t asked to pass a lot, but still went 8-for-11 for 81 yards. Read more »

Three-And-Out: Eagles-Redskins Predictions

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Oakland RaidersPlayer I’ll be watching

McManus: Patrick Chung

Early in the season, it almost felt like it didn’t matter who was lining up at safety. Whether it was Nate Allen, Patrick Chung, Earl Wolff, Kurt Coleman or Sheil Kapadia, all seemed to instill an equal amount of confidence — which is to say very little. Wolff, as the coaches routinely reminded us, was making his share of mistakes out there.  Credit to the rookie for developing to the point where his absence is felt in the secondary.

With Wolff nursing a knee injury, the Eagles are back to their original pairing of Allen and Chung. Allen is playing really well right now, which is a pleasant surprise. Chung has been in and out of the lineup with a lingering shoulder injury. He says he is feeling much better and the coaching staff didn’t sound too concerned about it. Chung and Allen will be tested by a Redskins team that can beat you in the run game as well as over the top with play action. Read more »

Game Review: Eagles Offense Vs. Packers

foles_400_111113Here’s a position-by-position look at what we saw from the Eagles’ offense against the Packers.

QUARTERBACKS

* I thought Nick Foles played great against Oakland. This was a bit of an uneven performance. I know that seems crazy to say, considering he posted a 149.3 passer rating, but I’ll try to explain.

* There were a couple decisions that could have been costly. In the second quarter, Foles was being pressured and just launched a pass up for grabs. It was in the direction of DeSean Jackson, but there were defenders nearby. The ball landed incomplete as Jackson couldn’t find it in the sun, but it was a dangerous throw. In the third, Foles made an awkward throw to Jason Avant, stepping into it with his right foot. It ended up being a 23-yard completion, but just as easily could have been picked off.

* The first touchdown to Jackson was obviously flukey. Jackson had the corner beat, and the Packers had a single high safety, but Foles underthrew him. Chip Kelly said today that the wind played a factor on the pass. Read more »

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